Showing posts from February, 2011

Lakewood Ranch partners with Microsoft

I just ran across some interesting video on Fox News about Lakewood Ranch.  The story is about how Lakewood Ranch is employing color-coded tags on businesses to give smart-phone users more information, online coupons, etc.  Sounds nice, but as usual, there's more to the story. Smart tags are not new.  In fact, I've been using them on my website, , for months, as well as here on my blog.  They are called QR codes, which stands for Quick Response, and they are being used worldwide.  QR codes work with mobile phones on any operating system, Mac or Android.  Even better, the app to read the tags is free, and many websites provide free QR code generators. The QR codes are black and white, meaning you don't need a special printer to make them, and you can print them right in your existing laser printer to apply to outdoor signs, banners, and in my case, my car.  They also are faxable. I use QR codes on yard signs to direct potential buyers

Sarasota Real Estate: It's Still a Pig...

Sarasota Real Estate: It's Still a Pig...

It's Still a Pig...

...even if you put on the rosiest lipstick. That's what I recently was treated to in a recent email newsletter from our area's self-appointed luxury real estate leader. We are in high season here in Sarasota, as snowbirds flock south to escape arctic blasts.  "I've rarely seen more visitors out and about; happily soaking-up our sunshine by day and our culture and cuisine by night", gushes the broker.  They then further expound on the predicted boom times to come:  " After one of the worst recessions in history, consumers are finally noticing the first real signs of relief. Economic growth is accelerating, discretionary spending is up considerably; and consumer confidence is at an eight-month high as the outlook for jobs brightens." Really? Following another link in this same email newsletter, January 2011 versus January 2010 sales were trumpeted as further evidence of the market turn-around and happy times to come for the real estate business.  I

Taking on Zillow, Part 2

I've posted here earlier about Zillow and how they present misinformation to home buyers and sellers. This morning I was reading a real estate news article about the market nationally, and they quote Zillow as an "expert source".  So I started wondering, where exactly do they get their data? According to Zillow:  "Our data on and appreciation for these reports is based on the Zillow Home Value Index - a valuation index calculated as the median value (Zestimate) of all homes in a particular geographic area. At the national level , this data is then weighted according to population in each area".  That's interesting, since real estate is decidedly a factor of local economics and geographic specifics such as beaches and climate.  Ponder why, if Zillow's methodology is correct, Port Charlotte and Sarasota don't have the same housing prices, since we are geographically similar. In fact, Zillow contradicts themselves as you dig further into the FAQ

New content on

I just added a rental page to my website, . I included condo and single-family rental property in Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte Counties, listed from least to most expensive. If you have any questions about rental properties please contact me.

Real Estate in the Museum Area of Sarasota FL

The Ringling Museum is one of the Sarasota area's most well known and recognizable landmarks.  What you may not know is that the neighborhoods surrounding the Ringling Museum are some of Sarasota's most eclectic places to live. The Museum Area is generally defined as west of Tamiami Trail, stretching from an enclave called The Uplands, south past New School to Whittaker Bayou, just north of downtown Sarasota. The Museum Area is home to a wide variety of properties.  Here you can find starter homes with old Florida charm and architectural detail starting in the mid $100's, ranging to bayfront estates with prices well over $1 million.  A popular area for investors, the housing inventory here offers opportunities for rental to nearby Ringling School of Art and New School students, especially as these schools increase enrollment.  Starter homes with old Florida charm like this home can be found in the Museum Area   Newer homes on Sarasota Bay can be fo

Siesta Key Real Estate

Siesta Key is one of the most popular areas in Sarasota to visit with it's world-famous white sugar sand beach and azure clear waters.  It also happens to be a great place to live or buy investment property. Investment Opportunities There are only a handful of hotels on Siesta Key.  Most vacationers opt to rent a fully furnished condo. The most popular rental condos have an on-site property manager, which handles reservations and unit cleaning and maintenance for guests, much like a hotel.  Investors can achieve positive cash flow with units with liberal rental restrictions.  The best investments are those that rent weekly or even daily.  Some will pay utility bills and condo fees out of rental revenue.  Expect a typical in-season beachside (not necessarily right on the beach) can rent for upwards of $5000 per month.  Off season during our summer and fall months, we get vacationers from the Tampa and Orlando areas, so the rental market remains active throughout the year.  Sa

West of Trail in Sarasota

It's easy to forget as a long-time Sarasota resident that terms like "West of Trail" may be foreign to out of towners, especially those looking for real estate. West of Trail technically is any area in Sarasota, Manatee, or Charlotte Counties that is west of Hwy 41 (Tamiami Trail).  In the Sarasota area, locals inside and outside the business, when referring to "West of Trail", usually are referring to the area south of Mound, stretching south to Field Road and the Oyster Bay Estates neighborhood.  The west of Trail area north of downtown Sarasota is better known locally as the Museum Area, since that area's most prominent landmark is the Ringling Museum. The West of Trail area I describe ranks among one of Sarasota's most prestigious areas for residential real estate.  Neighborhoods here include Harbor Acres, Cherokee Park, McClellan Park, San Remo, and the aforementioned Oyster Bay Estates. I have devoted a page on my website with MLS listings